A Place of Endurance

In light of the events at the Boston Marathon yesterday afternoon, I’m going to hold off on updating you all on the trivialities of our daily life. As is often the case after a violent event, it suddenly seems silly. Tragedy and loss have a way of taking the wind out of your sails. As a runner, I have always dreamed of qualifying for and running Boston. It’s a special race, in that you have to run a qualifying time, so to run Boston implies a real dedication and love for running as a sport- the greatest sport in the world, as far as I’m concerned. Watching the events unfold yesterday afternoon made my chest ache.

I wasn’t there, and there isn’t enough accurate information right now to know, specifically, why this happened. But that was my first reaction- why? I understood 9/11- not in the sense that I supported it, not in the least. However, I understood why, from the perspective of the bombers, they chose the locations that they did. They wanted to hit our country where we would feel the impact the most, and in that sense they succeeded. I struggled (and still am struggling) with yesterday’s events because they are tragic, but also because there is an element of randomness there. Boston is one of the greatest running events in the world, and has a deep and wonderful history for runners- but it’s for runners. A bunch of crazy fools running 26.2 miles for the fun of it. Most people I know weren’t even aware that the marathon was happening, because they don’t follow the sport. So why Boston? Why target that group of individuals?

Based on the information that has been given to the public, I have to believe that this was a random event. I don’t think it was an aim at running- I think it was an aim at any large event, and that terrifies me, because it shows a particular lack of care. If the person responsible for this truly didn’t care what his target was, it makes every event around the country equally as susceptible.

I did think that it was interesting that whoever did this chose a marathon- a place of extreme emotional and physical endurance, with some of the most resilient people in the world at its center. I know the strength of a runner’s spirit, and that of a dedicated and passionate marathoner. If they thought that they could somehow damage that spirit, they were mistaken.

There’s a lot of talk about God- our country needed to find God again, our country losing its faith, and so on. Aside from the fact that most religious faiths have been the center of countless violent feuds for thousands of years, I am cautious of these statements because I also suspect that on some level they take advantage of the tragic events and use them to push a certain agenda- one of religion, or of politics or policies. I think, on a base level, the thing that is most deficient right now is a sense of humanity among people.

Human beings, as a whole, lack a certain level of humanity- we operate on our most basic instincts, which push us to act on self-interest, but in today’s world we live in abundance. We lack a sense of connection to one another, an understanding that we’re all just mortal beings trying to survive on a big hunk of floating spinning rock. We lack the ability to think on a global level, and that is a huge flaw in our design.

Most of my news-seeking yesterday was in search of pictures of people at Boston helping one another. It was the only way I could process the event. I took in a brief overview of the explosions, and then I hunted down the reports of people helping. It seems like I wasn’t alone in my desire to find some light in the situation, because there were plenty of reports, even mere hours after it happened.

I don’t have the answers to the world’s problems. I’m just a woman on the other side of the screen trying to understand why the world has to be so damn violent. That’s the toughest part for me. It makes me sound like a total hippie, but I don’t understand why there has to be violence, how it solves anything. But I don’t think God has the answer to that, either.

I am not religious in a traditional sense, but I don’t take issue with religion unless its principles are ones of violence or oppression. I believe that everyone should have the freedom to worship in their own way. In that same vein, I do not think that our country needs God.

I think what we need is each other.

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